When you think of Wyoming wildlife, the first thought that comes to mind is probably the epic grizzlies and wolves of Yellowstone – when in fact you might not realize the amazing diversity of Rocky Mountain wildlife that live in the Bighorn Mountain region. Under no threat of a grizzly or wolf encounter, you’ll find whitetail and mule deer, along with elk, moose, pronghorn and much more in their native, natural habitat. What you won’t find here are entry fees or traffic jams…this is the real deal, so please give every animal the distance and respect it deserves as you enjoy the wildlife of the Bighorns.
Chances are very good that you’re going to find some sort of native critter just from passing through; however, we’ve gone one step further and identified a few of those spots that we know will up the odds of an incredible wildlife viewing experience.
Bighorn Canyon National Recreational Area
Immerse yourself in the diverse and colorful landscape of the Bighorn Canyon National Recreational Area, accessible from Highway 14A near the town of Lovell and approximately a two-hour drive from Sheridan.
Gradual regional uplift and steam erosion created the dramatic and diverse Bighorn Canyon. the outcome being the dramatic and diverse Bighorn Canyon.
The Bighorn Canyon was formed by a combination of gradual regional uplift and stream erosion. The product of gradual canyon vicinity offers a diversified landscape of forest, mountains, upland prairie, deep canyons, broad valleys, lake and wetlands. The canyon was formed by a combination of gradual regional uplift and stream erosion. Much of it is narrow and confined within sheer walls over 2,000 feet.
Activities: Hunting, fishing, boating, hiking, swimming, site seeing, bicycling, horseback riding, camping, wildlife viewing (wild mustangs & bighorn sheep), bird watching, skiing, snowmobiling, and exploring the past.
Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range
The Pryor Mountains, named after Sergeant Nathaniel Pryor of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, is home to the Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range. In 1968, 31,000 acres in the Pryor Mountains was set aside as a public range for the wild horses, the first of its kind in the nation.
For more than a century, the Pryor Mountains have been home to free-roaming, genetically unique bands of wild horses linked to the Spanish Mustangs brought to the United States by the Spanish conquistadors. The heard size of about 120-140 is managed by the Bureau of Land Management.
Wyoming Bird Farm
Operated by the Wyoming Game & Fish Department, the Bird Farm rears ring-necked pheasants. This facility raises nearly 16,000 birds annually for release in habitats throughout the northern part of the state.
Tongue River Canyon
This wildlife habitat area has two campgrounds and access for hiking, camping, hunting and fishing. The canyon hosts campgrounds and is a great location for a picnic, to watch for the animals that inhabit the area, or to hike up the trail along Tongue River. Fishing here, for trout, is excellent.
North of Tongue River Canyon, in the foothills of the Bighorns, lie the rolling hills of the Amsden Creek Habitat Area. In the winter, over 300 elk migrate from the forest to this area while birds, elk and mule deer can be spotted throughout the year.
An access book on Wyoming Habitat Areas is available from the Wyoming Game and Fish Department located in Sheridan.